Wouldn't you though?
Given up wine for Lent? Probably unlikely, but whichever way you flop, you can enjoy the heady aroma of the sweet stuff from this recycled wine bottle candle. Glass of Sauvignon wax, anyone?
Fancy getting Muddy?
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Ok, I give in. I’ve not quite got the tinsel up yet, but it is starting to look more than a bit festive out there. Pass the mincepies, Christmas has officially started in Muddyland!
Fancy of a bit of pre-Christmas retail therapy? Hanbury Manor Spa in Ware is putting on its annual Christmas shopping event, complete with mulled wine (oh, go on then), lots of shopping opportunities, and reduced-price treatments while you’re there.
It has to be something pretty special to tempt me out on a cold and rainy night, but failing Jamie Dornan turning up on my doorstep with a bottle of champers, the launch of the spanking-new British makeup range delilah at The Clinic in Tring had me grabbing my coat and heading out the door.
I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup – if any at all.
There’s all sorts going on in Herts and beyond this week, whether you’re after a grown-up night out or some foodie action.
An Evening of Burlesque, Sat 22 Nov
Burlesque? In Bishops Stortford? Hang on, let me dig out my sparkly tassels… Rhodes Theatre will be home, for one night only, to a show that’s being billed as Britain’s best burlesque extravaganza.
Howard’s House is a very sweet hotel in a tiny Wiltshire village called Teffont Evias (and no, I don’t know how to pronounce it either), not far from Salisbury. The village is mostly a church, a stream, lots of cows, and the hotel, but that’s sort of the point. It’s the kind of place that’s perfect for curling up on the sofa and waiting for someone else to sort out the log fire.
It’s mid November which can only mean one thing – a Christmas fair frenzy. There’s bound to be one where you live, but there are a few worth travelling further afield for too. Here’s my pick of the best ones around, plus a round-up of the best-of-the-rest.
Hatfield House Christmas Frost Fair
It’s the fifth year now that Hatfield House has hosted its Christmas Frost Fair, and it’s become massively popular– not least because of the lovely setting.
Every so often, I just need a big city fix. Usually that involves 40 minutes on the train into London, just enough culture to say we’ve been there done that, and then far too many cocktails with my much-more-glam-than-me friend Kate. And if there’s food involved, then it’s probably sushi because it’s just about my favourite food in the whole world.
Now – hoorah! – I’ll only have to whizz into Berkhamsted to get my sushi kicks.
British artist Bruce Munro is best known for immersive large-scale light-based installations. His work has been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Eden Project (Cornwall), the Guggenheim Museum (New York) and, most local to us, Waddesdon Manor (Bucks). He returns to Waddesdon Manor this week with the launch of his new installation ‘Winter Light’ (12 Nov 2014 to Jan 2015) in the grounds, and ‘Snow Code’ inside the house, a digital installation blending light, language, technology and sound.
It’s great not having to hop in the car for hours to escape somewhere for the weekend, so having Champneys just five minutes down the road – well, up the hill – is an absolutely brilliant bonus to living, as I do, in Tring. That said, it’s not really that far from anywhere in Herts and it’s a drive worth taking.
Though there’s something to be said for super-new spas, with their glass and chrome and modern lines, there was something rather lovely about staying somewhere that used to be one of the Rothschild’s stately homes.
You have to love a place that lays out an actual red carpet for you. Especially when it’s bright red shag pile.
Graceland is definitely the newest – and most fabulous – place in Hitchin to pick up something completely unique to wear. It’s a teeny tiny boutique on Sun Street – so small you might walk straight past if the window wasn’t still filled with the gold balloons from its launch at the beginning of November.
Sarah and Yoshie only met six short months ago in Hitchin (they both live in the town), but they’re already finishing each other’s sentences like a happily married couple, and producing designs through their illustration and textiles company that are creating quite the stir locally.
Only last month they launched their illustration, textiles and design company Sas and Yosh – and on their gala night they smartly sold out of one of their signature products, their Oriental Spa tea towel.